Biochem this Spring...yay or nay?

Hey, guys! I need opinions… I’m thinking of picking up Biochem this spring in preparation for medical school.

Waste, or time well spent?

Other variable being the all important arrival of my newest daughter in February…I really want to make sure it’s a good use of time. If it won’t really help me much next year, I can be easily talked out of it. I need $$ for diapers, after all.

Personally, I would choose to spend the remaining valuable time before med school with the baby.

We finished gross anatomy just a few weeks ago and are now in the biochem/pharm/histo portion of the first-year curriculum. I was a biochem major and so far the material has been a repeat of what I did in undergrad. I definitely still study it, but since I already learned it once, it makes it that much easier. Even the concepts that are new to me, I’m able to understand much better because I have a framework to fit the new material into. Others in the class are really struggling - about 20 failed the first exam. Med school biochem so far is definitely not as detailed as my undergrad biochem, but I feel that the grueling effort I put in then is definitely helping me now.

Although I can understand the concept of spending the summer with family, you could also consider that putting in some time this summer could allow you a bit more time during first year (after anatomy, of course) than would otherwise be possible? Just a thought. Congrats on your acceptance btw!!

If OP doesn’t mind me piggybacking…what are people’s thoughts on genetics the spring before starting?

Congrats on your acceptance!

I will just weigh in on the “taking a class with a new baby” part of the equation. I took Physiology (former pre-PA) and had three weeks left of class to finish after I gave birth. I pretty much had to have everything done prior to birth because it was next to impossible to get things done with a new infant that didn’t sleep through the night. I took my final with an infant nursing in my lap (made it, but it wasn’t pretty).

While biochem will likely help, it may be extremely stressful to try and do it with a small infant for the bulk of the class. You have a lot on your plate to prepare for school next fall with a family. It may be asking a lot to push through another course.

Speaking from my previous experience, it gets to be a bit tiring those last few weeks so you might be better served to get sleep while you can.


I had genetics with my first undergrad degree (in the 70’s), but my basic bio for premed covered a pretty good section on genetics which was adequate prep for med school genetics I thought. I add the caveat that we had a very good professor who gave a fair number of practice genetics problems which helped a lot.

If I had to chose which would be MORE helpful in the first year of med school, I’d say biochem over genetics. However, I didn’t have biochem either and was able to manage. I did have some panic and had to work very hard, however. Did NOT cover myself with glory on that section but still managed to do ok.

I’d say it would be tough with a new baby, so Carrieliz, I wouldn’t spend the time and effort now, but I might buy a biochem primer (biochem for dummies?) and just spend some time prepping that as background (and a reference when you are in the throes of it ).

Best of luck,


I took Biochem in grad school while nursing a new born and thought it worked out great! I slept when she did and studied/nursed when she was awake. And it’s one of the sweetest memories I have of her as a baby.

Since Biochem seems to the one course med students fail more than others, I’d say that getting exposure to it before hand is pretty important especially since you’ll have other responsibilities during the first year if med school too.

All great feedback…thanks for your thoughts. Still trying to decide, but I’m leaning towards taking the course. My husband will be home from Afghanistan. And we’ll both be off work for the entire semester…it would be the only course I took prior to med school where 1) I wasn’t having to juggle work, and 2) I wasn’t taking another upper division course, and 3) my husband is home and fully dedicated to the girls (standing in the gap with no worries while I’m in class.)

Seems like a perfect time… I wonder if I could get away with taking it without lab?

Hey carrieliz,

I’ve been debating about this as well. Biochem in spring (undergrad) and anatomy in the summer (offered by medical school).

I’ve asked this exact question to multiple medical students (1st and 2nd years) at every school I’ve been interviewing at. From what I’ve gathered, they tell me that it does help but after the first couple months everyone catches up to each other. One of the students told me that I should really try to enjoy my time off before medical school as much as I can, especially since you don’t want to be burned out from studying as soon as you start medical school.

Not sure what you’ve decided. I was leaning toward taking classes right up until medical school. Now I’m thinking of enjoying the last few months before I give up 4 years of my life to full time studying.

Good luck either way you decide.

Why pay good money for a course when you can just learn it on your own time at your own pace??

I look at it this way, what is more valuable right now? Time with friends and family and a new baby or getting a little ahead for medical school?

FWIW, I did have to take biochem the Spring prior to matriculation and it did help, but not enough to make it worth the time and money put into it. Biochem is just one of many difficult courses in Medical school.

But, again, if you really want to, why not get a board review book for Biochem - this will give you broad strokes, you can fill in the gaps with a little online searching or even a medical biochem textbook…

All the best!